First year favourites

Well, it’s been over a year, and over 1000 designs created since I started selling my Word Art as AliChappellUK.


I thought it would be nice to share with you some of the most interesting designs that I have been commissioned over my first year. Below I have collated my Top Ten word art designs.

I can design in many different shapes and with many different colours and details and some of these requests illustrate just how that can be done.

Just arm me with 60-ish words and I will do the rest! I love the puzzle of making everything fit.
The designs are all created using professional software, but don’t be fooled, the software does not place the words in position for me, it just ensures a quality print file at the end.
Each word is manually positioned by eye to fit the empty spaces until I have made the design into your chosen shape.


1.    The fabulous french butterfly


Well, words essentially work the same (in the Latin alphabet), no matter the language. I was approached to design a butterfly in French for a little girl. These words translate into cute words and phrases such as ‘Sing a Rainbow’ and ‘Sugar & Spice’. The design would look fab as a big canvas in a girlie playroom.

2.    Man’s best friend


When I was first asked about designing a word art for a person who absolutely pampers and spoils their dogs I actually imagined a young girl… I later discovered it was for the customer’s father – a real dog lover. For this design I included four dog’s names. The design was printed on heavy textured paper and put in a dark frame.

“You’ll no doubt be pleased to know that people still admire the piece and stand in front of it, turning their head this way and that until they’ve read every word.” – customer quote


3.    Britpop revival


This time the customer was my own husband-to-be! He wanted something really special and unique for his best man and groomsmen – all very close friends that had been with him since school. The year that always had the best memories for them was 1995. I fitted in songs, places, jokes, nicknames –  everything that encapsulated the most memorable time of their life! It was printed on canvas and stretched on a deep frame. Of course Gavin kept a copy for himself which has pride of place between his guitars.

4.    Sports team star


You know who’s the best – us not you! This sporty patriotic star contained the whole sports team, including the coaches and a few favourite phrases. This would look awesome as a banner in the sports hall facing the opposing team’s goal!

5.    Wedding of the year


Well, apart from my own wedding that is 🙂 So many special people are involved in a wedding. Friends and family all chip in and all deserve big thank you’s and unique gifts. But on your big day don’t forget to make your own special memories that last too. This cushion is filled with fun memories of the happy couple.

6.    Extended family


This was a special gift from a family in the U.K. to their family in the U.S. Included in the words were family members, pets, special moments and memories from their holiday visit. Family gifts can be treasured by so many different generations and they can come together in one place in this design. The customer liked the result so much that she bought a second one for herself!

7.    Tennis anyone?


This was a design for a BIG Tennis fan as I’m sure you can see. I was asked to include some tennis related icons so I opted for racket and ball. This is the darkest background I have ever produced a word art in and I must admit – it’s very striking! The customer printed this out as a large poster.

“Omg I totally LOVE this… so much of a tennis statement!” – customer quote

8.    Someone special


Words have so much meaning and can encapsulate a lifetime of memories, fun, jokes and adventures. This design was commisioned for someone who wanted to give a really special and unique present to his wife. Included in it are friends, family, places they have travelled, the pets and funny sayings they share. This just couldn’t be found in the shops.

9.    Love starts at home


In contrast, sometimes you don’t need many words to say something full of meaning. ‘Our love never fails’ was the only phrase apart from the couple’s names. This was printed on textured paper and framed by myself before shipping to the customer.

10.    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder



I was approached by ‘Ginvera’ to design some artwork for their stand at the UK Anti-Ageing show this spring. The words were fitted into the shape of a green tea leaf and their corporate colours were used to create this extra large poster. You can visit the lovely Ginvera website here: I can’t resist the BB cream.


11.    A spot of self-indulgence


I have cheated here. This is number 11 but I wanted to include it. I just had to have my own ‘sample’ of one of these gorgeous cushions… they are so soft and the ink is so bright… ahh, I’m in love….


Hop over to my Etsy shop to check out my latest designs here:



Printing artwork for a personal gift

So, you have a beautiful piece of art, design or a photo saved as a high resolution file on your computer, and you’d like to be able to produce a nice gift from it. All you need to do is print it! But what is the best option for you?

Start at home!

Inkjet Printers

Most modern inkjet printers can produce surprisingly good results. If you set the print quality to the highest (photo setting is good) and use some good quality paper, inkjet printing can be very detailed and accurate, especially with photographs.

You will perhaps need to experiment to get things such as the size right. You can adjust the percentage of your image in the ‘printer settings’ or ‘properties’ to make it bigger or smaller. If you plan to frame your artwork and already have a frame, I suggest you print the image at a size which will allow a little white space around all sides, so that it will give it a nice balance in the frame without looking cramped. You can always use scrap paper and print in black and white to save costs at this stage.

For your final print, use a good quality paper which is designed for inkjet printing. I like ‘linen’ and ‘hammer embossed’ papers which are often used for wedding stationery. They have a nice quality texture which adds to the effect. If you use a coloured paper it may affect the colour of your print so you may want to test it first. Inkjet ink will take on the finish of the paper, so will appear matte on matte paper and glossy on photo paper. On some shiny papers you will need to allow some time for drying but they do tend to print with a sharper detail.

Printing at home is a great way to add a further ‘handmade’ feeling to the creation of your unique gift – choosing your own frame and paper means you can personalise every element of the final piece.

I would certainly encourage you to try printing at home if you can. It is fun, rewarding and you can experiment over and over again with a whole variety of papers.

Professional fine art prints are produced using high quality lightfast inkjet inks and papers. These produce superior photographic images. This process is often referred to as ‘Giclée’.

Laser Printers

If you work in an office your employer may allow you to use the company’s laser printer for a small charge, or possibly for free if they are particularly generous! Alternatively, you can use a local copy centre like Kinko’s (US), Staples, or a local printing company who can also produce a laser print for you.

They print superior quality text. Laser ink is formed by heating a powder and the finished printed areas will have a subtly shiny appearance. Laser printers are cost effective for large scale printing (although the outlay for the toner is high, it lasts a very long time) and it is fast.

Most colour laser printer toners use pigment, which suggests a better fade resistance than the average inkjet print.

Online print services

Important notes – When uploading files online, be sure that if there is an option to upload ‘fast or ‘slow’, that you use the ‘slow’ setting – some fast uploads will reduce the size and quality of your file, resulting in a disappointingly poor quality blurry print.
Every website is different – you may need to crop, zoom or rotate in order to get the best fit of your design in the printed area. Make sure you check the preview or proof carefully before committing to buy.


If your home printer isn’t up to scratch, Poster prints can be very cost effective if you are looking for a decent sized print. Places such as Snapfish, Tesco (UK)/FedEx, Costco (US) only cost a few pounds/dollars.

Here is a customer photo of a poster print in a frame:


Photo prints can also be very cheap. Try printing design or artwork onto a matt finish – glossy finishes perhaps won’t give the appropriate effect. Photos however will look gorgeous on glossy paper!

Canvas, mugs and much more

If you have a slightly higher budget then why not get a canvas print. These can be really striking and make a real focal point in a room. They are also hard-wearing and easy to hang.

There are so many print choices online – mouse mats, cushion covers, tea towels, tote bags, canvases, mugs, t-shirts, i-phone cases, key rings; the list seems endless.

Review of US online store  –

Canvas prices start from approx. $30 unframed, $49 framed*.

Very simple ordering and upload process. The advantage to using this service is that there is no need to worry about cropping or aspect ratios. The experienced designers will send you a proof and intelligently crop the image for you so your image looks great at no extra charge. Canvaspop will let you upload a jpeg yourself, but they will also accept a pdf file via email which I would recommend you do, in order to allow for the highest print quality.

The difference in ease of ordering, price, quality and customer service can differ a lot. I cannot recommend who will be the best for your personal requirements but here is a list of other suggestions to try – Walmart, Costco, Cafepress, Smartpress, Shutterfly, Staples and Kinkos.

Review of UK online store  –

Canvas prices start from approx. £20* but keep your eye out for regular sale prices.

The good thing about Vistaprint is that it will accept most file types including pdfs, which usually contain a much higher print quality than a jpeg.

What I like here is the upload process, it’s very easy, and includes a very flexible tool where you can crop, rotate, enlarge, and reduce your image until it is perfectly placed. The tool is accessible without the need to login so you can give it a try and get a visual example without committing to buy anything.


The difference in ease of ordering, price, quality and customer service can differ a lot. I cannot recommend who will be the best for your personal requirements but here is a list of other suggestions to try – Canvasdezign, Tescophoto, Snapfish, Cafepress and Orbitprint.

*prices correct at time of writing this blog.

Remember – All inks, printers and papers will add different variables to your final print!


Want to learn more about fine art quality (Giclée) printing? Click here.

Home Sweet Home: personalised word art

Friends recently bought and moved into a new home and I wanted to give them a really special personalised present.

I love typography and colour and so decided to make some ‘word art’.

I gathered words related to home life, relationship, names, addresses, anything personal that I knew about my friend.

Fitting the words around the doors and windows of a simple house shape took some time!


I chose a nice homely colour scheme of warm browns, reds and creams.

My friend’s favourite things include cats, gardening, ladybirds and bees and so I also incorporated images of these all into the shape.

sun-wordart   ladybird-wordart  bee-wordart2

I printed the design myself on my home printer. I used ‘woven’ effect paper in a cream colour as it gave some additional warmth and texture.

I found a nice deep frame with a small aperture.


She was very pleased with her present, who wouldn’t like a totally unique and personalised gift?

Due to the positive response of my friend,  I decided to create a product for others who are looking for a unique housewarming gift. The design can be personalised for anybody.

Take quick look, click here and let me know what you think!



Beautiful Indian themed handmade wedding stationery


I am getting married in September and we have agreed upon an Indian theme, as my fiance and I spent the first weeks of our engagement in India together.

It’s very exciting as there’s lots of room for creativity in a wedding! All our stationery will be handmade.

To begin with I sat and doodled some zen-doodle/mendhi henna inspired designs. To my surprise, what started as a rough idea actually developed into the final design… a ‘happy accident’ as they say!

I scanned the image into Photoshop, cleaned up the image and increased the contrast up high so the image was completely black.

The next thing I had to design was the shape and size of the invitation. I wanted to be able to buy standard sized envelopes and so eventually decided on an A4 sheet folded into 3. To give it an oriental touch, the top of the invite was cut into a spire shape similar to a temple or lantern. When the invitation is unfolded the effect of 3 spires was revealed:

folded indian wedding invite

I found some beautiful gold shimmer paper that was printer friendly (thanks to who were incredibly helpful). I printed the information out on both sides of the paper, folded and cut, then wrote the invitee’s names by hand on each invite.

The final touch was to add some tiny self-adhesive crystals in red, gold and brown. These crystals are very cheap to buy from Ebay and they really brought it to life.


The invitations were inserted into red envelopes for a wonderful rich contrast with the gold. It was truly worth all the effort to sit back and see the final thing!

I decided to set up a shop to share my ideas with others who want to give DIY invitations a try! Visit my etsy shop for your own printable DIY wedding stationery kits, click here.

Please contact me directly if you are looking for something in particular, I love to design and would love to help!

Rheebridge Open Art Exhibition – Exhibition pieces revealed

Thanks to all who attended the show this weekend!

As promised, here is a picture of the pieces I exhibited.

The exhibition saw works from 100 different artists, it was such a diverse mix, a fantastic way to see art from all over Cambridgeshire from a whole mix of skill sets and styles.


My first exhibited piece!

Atelier East Summer Exhibition: 27 July – 15 September 2012

After a multitude of useless excuses and reasons why “I don’t have time” and “no-one will like my style” and “I’m not good enough” I finally ran out of things to say and so entered a sunflower drawing into a small local open art exhibition ran by Atelier East. And guess what… it got accepted!

Even after acceptance I still had reservations and worries about the quality of my work… “Maybe when they see the real thing they will realise how bad my work is and regret selecting me?”

I got a confidence boost when I framed the picture… “Wow it actually looks quite professional in a frame doesn’t it?” Here it is all ready to be packed and sent off to the exhibition.


Sadly I was not able to make the open evening but thanks Mum and Dad for attending, as well as David Collison, the chairman of the company I work for.

So what can I say, I have learnt this month that I will never get your work exhibited if I don’t attempt to try. Try actually doing the things you always put off!

Here’s to more exhibition entries…

Chrysanthemum Challenge!

This blog is dedicated to Georgina Pope.

I have recently been studying the Chrysanthemum in an attempt to draw an ink illustration.

The first thing I discovered is that there are so many visually different variants… 13 different bloom forms in 30 different species! Even before beginning to draw I needed to chose a bloom form, and I decided upon the ‘Irregular Incurve’ and ‘Intermediate Incurve’ which I’m sure will have no meaning at all to most of you non-botanicals!

The challenge is fitting the sheer amount of petals into a tight neat space.

I have tried various methods of  being mathematical and drawing from the heart and settled on a combination of the two. This is my favourite version so far so I thought I’d share it. I still feel I need to find a way to fit a lot more petals in!

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